Whether planning activities and celebrations at home or looking for ways to help when out and about – we love to encourage dementia-friendly behaviour all year round (of course!). But, given the festive season is fast approaching, we’ve put together some helpful hints and tips tailored for this time of year, meaning everyone can be as comfortable as possible.
Celebrations at home
Create a quiet space
It’s always a good idea to make sure there is somewhere for people to take breaks if feeling overwhelmed by celebrations. A quiet room that’s easily accessible can be a great help. Be sure to check in with those who need additional support throughout the day, and let them know there is a quiet space available.
Food and drink
Common symptoms of dementia can make eating and drinking more challenging. Memory loss, difficulties identifying food and drink items, and sight loss can all make it more difficult to eat and drink well.
It’s helpful to consider preferences and what is likely to appeal most to your guests. Easy to hold portions such as finger foods are a good idea, and non-verbal communication such as holding up a mug when offering a cup of tea can also be helpful.
Decorations and layout
Think about decorations and layout in your home. Although festive decorations can be great in prompting reminiscence and conversation, try not to make things look too different and potentially disorientating. Ensure toilets are easily accessible and use signs if possible.
Stay warm and plan some inclusive activities to do at home. Why not prepare a memory box as a festive gift. You could use items from around the home - photos, CD’s, recipes or pieces of jewellery - anything that sparks conversation and happy memories!
Or, plan a day of reminiscing. You could cook a loved one’s favourite childhood recipe or sweet treat, make a playlist, and watch old films.
Out and about
Lend a helping hand
Do you know a neighbour who might need a helping hand, or who can’t venture out in the cold weather? If you’re making a trip to the local shop or post office why not ask if they need anything. Something as simple as picking up stamps, or taking letters to the post box can help someone stay connected to friends and family.
Volunteer your time
Keep an eye out for local events or organisations who might need assistance this time of year. Reach out to local care homes to ask if they need help writing Christmas cards to residents, or volunteer as a marshal or helper at a local event.
Show your understanding
Something as simple as acknowledging that some people may need longer to pay at tills, might become disorientated in shops and might become overwhelmed in public places can go a long way to helping someone feel safer when out and about.
Having patience and understanding and identifying situations where you can help can work wonders.